As I bumble through life I've managed to collect some junk that I've considered memorabilia. That's an excuse that keeps you from throwing stuff out. Early on it was mostly just autographs. Eventually the autographs got better. Tour books signed by heroes gushing about how nice it was working with me. Over time it got good. A photo booth strip picture of Tiny Tim mugging. A piece of wood with "Elvis Stepped Here" burned into it. When Elvis saw it, he tore it from my scrapbook and stood on it. Eric Clapton's bottleneck that Duane Allman also used. I had come to look down my nose at autographed Beatles sleeves.
Of course the Hard Rock Cafe changed the game and rich, white guys began collecting guitars that Willie Nelson had been tricked into signing for somebody's niece in Tulsa who was waiting for her iron lung to arrive from Korea.
Some people really did it well. Marty Stuart managed to acquire Jimmie Rodgers' railroad lantern, Lester Flatt's guitar and Johnny Cash's first black suit. My pal John Lomax's wife got her hands on Gram's famous Nudie suit. Yeah, that one.
To say that I became jaded is to understate it. Me? I had seen it all.
Now, out of nowhere... well, almost- out of Kentucky, my pal walks away with the ultimate prize. I'm pretty sure that Rob McNurlin has bid on the Shroud of Turin on e-Bay countless times. He's very pious and reasonably gullible. He was checking by telephone on items from Hank Snow's estate. As he was losing interest, the lady mentioned that she had the toupee. Yeah, buddy, that toupee. If you have ever seen Hank Snow on stage or poked through any old country music magazine, you've stared at that toupee. I'm pretty sure that most of us have gazed and thought something along the line, "He was rich. Why didn't he get a better wig?"
Game! Point! Match!
Here it is. The holy grail. Keeps Marty Stuart humble, I suppose.